Be mindful in winter weather

We’ve been reminded during the past week about the concerns that pop up when the snow begins to fly.

And, while we enjoyed a few milder days, this week’s forecast is calling for both snow and single-digit temperatures. That makes it important for drivers to get a grasp on basic winter driving skills and for everyone to remember some snow basics.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol and state police agencies report driving too fast for conditions accounts for more than half of winter crashes.

Law enforcement at all levels is urging motorists to allow extra time to get to their destination, maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the traffic ahead, pay close attention to bridges and overpasses — as they are often the first to freeze over — and to drive slowly, as everything including accelerating, turning and braking take longer on snow-covered roadways.

Everyone dreads waking up on a workday to a fresh snowfall. Schools may be delayed or closed, but drivers still have to get to work on time. Some simple precautions can increase your chances of safely getting to your destination.

Clear away snow from your car’s windows, and from the entire vehicle. Wait for your car to warm up and melt ice on the windows.

Being able to see is necessary for safe driving. That’s also why drivers should clear snow from their vehicle. Snow blowing off a moving car can blind other drivers.

Make sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled with fluid that doesn’t easily freeze. Replace worn windshield-wiper blades.

If your destination is some distance away, keep a winter-driving kit in your vehicle. Law enforcement officials say that kit should include a cellphone with car charger; road flares or reflectors; help or call- police signs; a first aid kit; flashlight; blanket or sleeping bag; a small shovel; bottled water and energy foods; candles and matches; and tow strap or chain.

Being prepared is the best way to deal with winter driving — there are phone numbers and websites that offer up-to-date road conditions. Check ahead to see what you may be facing and be prepared to change plans accordingly. Also, keep an eye on weather forecasts for that area.

And, when you are at home remember your responsibilities. Residents and business owners are required to clean snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their locations. The time limits for completing that work and fines for failure to do so vary from community to community, but they do exist — and should be respected. Failure to keep sidewalks open can put pedestrians in danger — from slipping on ice or from having to walk in the street to avoid covered pathways.

Some communities in our region have special on-street parking regulations that go into effect when it snows. Know what the restrictions are for your community and respect them — they are in place to ensure snow removal crews can do their work in a safe and efficient manner.

While you’re shoveling, don’t forget to keep the area in front of your mailbox and newspaper delivery box clear. That allows postal employees and newspaper delivery people the opportunity to complete their jobs in a safe manner.

Be patient in winter weather, take your time when driving on snow- and ice-covered roads and keep sidewalks clear of ice and snow.



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